School of Technology and Applied Science
Milwaukee Area Technical College

Dorothy Walker

Dorothy Walker’s life has been full of Non-Traditional employment and career opportunities, first as a welder through her on the job training where she worked in Industry as a production and setup welder for 13 years. In 1978 she was hired by Milwaukee Area Technical College to train other women in the skill of welding, she was the first female welding instructor to be hired by the college and at that time she was the only female welding instructor in the state. Dorothy is the wife of Joseph Cooper Jr. for ten years, mother of Elder Tonya Powell Edwards and grandmother of Andrea Powell.


During her tenure at MATC, Dorothy taught in the Welding Diploma program for sixteen years. In 1993 left the faculty to become the Apprentice Coordinator, where her responsibilities were to manage and oversee all the Apprenticeship Programs at MATC. She served in that position for two years where she worked with the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees and the State Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.

In 1995, she was promoted to her current position as Associate Dean, where her responsibilities are to manage programs, coach and supervise instructors, oversee the program budgets and manage the T & I Administrative office and staff at the Oak Creek campus. While at MATC, she has served on several internal committees and Task Forces, currently she serves on the President’ Diversity Task Force, she has served continuously as a mentor for students over the years and developed “Best Practices” in Student Retention activities under Minority Retention Grants.

Dorothy has been appointed to several State committees, she was appointed to the State Employment and Training Task Force by former Governor Tommy Thompson during the W2 transition and the Statewide Youth Apprenticeship Task Force. In 1994 she received “Educator of the Year” award for “Excellence in Education form both the National and Local Chapter of the American Welding Society. She serves on several committees at her local church, currently as the Chairperson of Community Educational Ministries.


Dorothy was born and raised in the South in Brighton Tennessee where her parents were share croppers on a farm. She graduated from George R. Ellis high school in 1964, at that time schools in the South were still segregated. She is the second oldest of seven children. She is a wife, a mother and a grandmother and Great grandmother and was raised with the values that families that pray together stay together.

Dorothy values the opportunities she has been granted as a result of her career in welding, she went back to school at age 34, she enrolled in the Welding Program at MATC to increase her welding skills, since then she has earned an Associate Degree in Welding Technology from MATC, a Bachelors Degree in Vocational Technical and Adult Education and working to a Master’s Degree in Training & Development both from UW Stout. Dorothy is very thankful and humbly appreciative for these opportunities.

Dorothy’s passions are quality education for our children and the empowerment and excellence of women; for our children are our future and we must empower women to help sustain our families and demonstrate excellence in our community. Her motivation is her desire to help people, as an Ancients Proverb states: You can feed a person with a fish, but teach them to fish and they can sustain for life.